“Adventure should be part of everyone’s life. It is the whole difference between being fully alive and just existing” – Holly Morris
If you think adventure is only for people in their 20’s then think again! Kirsty is about to show you how women in their 40’s do it!
1 .Can you tell us something about yourself?
You can pick the best bits out of my Instagram Florence_t4, I think you’ll get the gist.
I’ve done OCRs (obstacle course races) and got my Alpha Wolf medal (all 4 wolf runs). I run, do Crossfit, train at the gym, swim, and fell in love with road biking during lockdown.
In the last 12 months, I’ve learned to bodyboard, snowboard, mountain bike, SUP.
2. What is the first memory of an adventure you had? And why does it stand out?
I guess I’d always thought you needed someone to do stuff with. I mean, what’s the point in going on an adventure if you’ve nobody to share those special moments with. Trouble was, I was wasting so much time waiting. It was like I woke up one morning early 2018 and just decided that I need to start doing and stop just being so I planned a small trip. Took my rickety old mountain bike off to Snowdonia for a 50km ride around the National Park. Booked a hostel, planned a route using Komoot (needed turn by turn directions – crap sense of direction) and off I went…….what could possibly go wrong? But you know what, I realised that flying solo was good, nobody else to consider, nobody to keep happy, nobody making you change your plans and nobody interrupting your thoughts. It was refreshing. And that was it, I had the bug and decided THIS was what I wanted more of.
I doubted myself many times, but I know from experience that the thought of doing something out of your comfort zone is always worse than the actual doing!
3. What are three things on your bucket list?
I’ve never had a long bucket list and it changes dependant on what I’m enjoying doing at the time. 3 things are too much for my brain to cope with so, for now, I have just 2:
NC 500 in my van
Cycling the Hebridean Way.
4. What is your next big adventure? Tell us all about it.
I’m currently planning my first solo bike packing adventure. It’s not big but it’s a good starter. Stafford to Bangor using NCN routes. It’s only 210KM and I plan to complete it in 3 days with 2 overnight wild camps. So, load up the bike with camping kit, ride 60-70km, pitch up and sleep….repeat x2. It’s not a race and I’m doing it to enjoy myself and take in the beauty of the scenery we often miss when driving places. Really looking forward to it. Pray for sunshine!
5. What piece of advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t take yourself or life to seriously. Stop procrastinating, be brave and when someone tells you you can’t or won’t be able to achieve something – prove them wrong.
6. What advice would you give someone who is just starting their outdoor journey?
Start small. Don’t think you have to go big to call it an adventure. Get yourself in motion with something tiny then build momentum.
“don’t believe every worried thought you have. Worried thoughts are notoriously inaccurate” Renee Jain
7. What is the hardest adventure/hike you have done and why?
Ha ha, this is easy – Tryfan North Face. The hike/scramble itself wasn’t the hardest thing. Admitting defeat after missing a turn and having to call mountain rescue was what was hard. We (my sister and myself) found ourselves totally stuck after ending up on Y Gully (notorious for rescues), and with days being short (January) I had to make the decision to phone for help. Not a proud moment but a sensible one. Ended up being air lifted to safety by the lovely Ogwen Valley Mountain rescue crew. 1st rescue of 2020.
Scrolling through IG the next day I found that somebody had videoed the whole rescue – wow, the helicopter did not look that far away from us when we were directly underneath it!
8. What is your favourite thing about the outdoor community?
I can only answer this from the virtual sense as I’m more a fly solo kinda gal, so based on the IG community, I’d say the willingness to share adventures and places of interest/routes etc.
9. Is there anything you would change about the outdoor community?
Yes………….stop keeping all those hidden gems a secret, let us know where you are more!!
But on a serious note, I think some ‘Adventurers’ can come over as quite intimidating to us novices – all the gear, the labels, the hundreds of pounds’ worth of kit – can make it seem unreachable to someone wanting to give it a go. I guess this is what I’m trying to get across to people in my IG feed and stories, that you don’t have to have all the gear or go big
10. Is there a sport/adventure pursuit you would like to try? If yes what’s stopping you?
I’d really like to do more wild swimming. I did a group open water swim in Llyn Padarn a couple of years ago and absolutely loved it (despite not being a fan of group activities). I guess its the safety side of things that puts me off, or should I say that people going on to me about the safety aspects of swimming in lakes on your own has put me off
11. I was shocked when you told me you were nearly 50, you are amazing! Have you found with age comes confidence?
For me its more about attitude than confidence. I have very little confidence in my abilities but I do have a ‘F**k it, what’s the worst that can happen’ attitude, I use this to fight against the confidence issue
12. Can you tell us about going through the menopause? Does it affect you while you are out?
I thought I’d got off lightly, periods just stopped and that was pretty much it. But then the hot flushes started, which when its hot outside is sometimes difficult to cope with but in the main, they are just annoying (I mean, who likes frizzy hair and a sweaty top lip)
The biggest issue I have now is forgetfulness and the inability to make a decision with a side order of anxiety. The internal monologue that plays out in my head before for instance, a bike ride, is absolutely ridiculous. If I had a visible thought bubble above my head you would think I was crazy. I never knew I had the capacity to think so many conflicting thoughts in one go. It’s not even processable (is that even a word)!! Luckily, it doesn’t really affect me once I’m out, I’m usually too focussed on what I’m doing for the meno madness to make an appearance. So I guess what I’m saying is, if you can get a clear enough head to plan something, being active and outdoors is like menopause therapy, it sparks joy and makes you realise there is a way through it
13. What does a typical adventure day look like for you?
This doesn’t have to be big. It can be something as simple as plotting a bike route and cycling 60km to somewhere you’ve never been before to sit on a hill with a coffee and your own thoughts. Or just heading down the local canal on my paddleboard. Just being outdoors doing something and discovering the joy it brings is good enough.
14. Are there any women that inspire your adventures or that you look to for inspiration?
I do get inspired by some women’s stories, yes, but nobody in particular. I just read ‘Eat, Sleep, Cycle’ by Anna Hughes which I found massively inspiring. I’ve also recently discovered Jo Moseley thanks to an Al Humphreys podcast – Jo paddle boarded from Liverpool to Goole along the canal, and she’s in her 50’s so very relatable.
15. Do you struggle to find a balance between outdoor life and being an adult?
I quit adulating a couple of years ago, so no! My kids are grown up, I work term time only and my mom lives with me. All these things give me the freedom to do basically what I want (in a non-selfish way) within my financial constraints.
16. What is the one song you would pick to sum up your time outdoors?
The first song that came to mind was Ultra Nate ‘Free’ but I don’t have a song as such. My go-to song when life gets me down is Mary J Blige ‘Just Fine’
17. Are you excited about turning 50? do you have any big adventures planned for it?
YES!! If you’d asked me 10 years ago what I would be doing in my 50th year, none of the activities I do now would have featured. I’m really proud to be where I am now – I know it’s not much, but it doesn’t have to be, and that’s what I try to get across to people. I don’t care much for the material things in life, I believe life is about experiences, not possessions. As for plans, my birthday is in December so pretty limited as to what I can do – but I’ll take being airlifted off a mountain and a 5 day trip to New York as the highlights of 2020 my 50th year